Wakefield to benefit from Transforming Cities Fund

17/03/2020, PR-9339

​Wakefield is set to receive a share of the £317million Transforming Cities Fund, which will support projects to improve the district’s transport network.

The successful bid by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority was confirmed in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget last week.

The aim is to create a region where communities are able to easily access a hassle-free transport network, which links them to employment and education opportunities, whilst also being sustainable and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

Proposed plans for the Wakefield district include measures to transform Wakefield city centre, including restrictions to traffic in the Northern and Civic Quarters, improved cycling infrastructure and measures to help buses access the bus station.

There will also be measures to reduce congestion, improve journey times and access employment sites on the A639, including bus priority measures, better access to bus stops, a bus hub at Glasshoughton and pedestrian and cycle improvements at Pontefract Horsefair.

Improving public transport on the A61 will also be a priority, including new bus lanes and better access to bus stops as well as additional cycling facilities to create better access for cyclists along the A650 around the Wakefield 41 and Paragon Business Village area.

Cllr Matthew Morley
Cllr Matthew Morley

​Cllr Matthew Morley, Cabinet Member for Planning and Highways at Wakefield Council, said: "I welcome this major announcement which will create many great opportunities to improve public transport and to enhance cycling and walking routes in the region.

"The proposed projects for the Wakefield district include plans to improve the A61 corridor with improved bus travel, and more cycle lanes; improvements to the A639 with bus priority measures around Castleford and Pontefract; including enhancements in the Horsefair area; plus a scheme to reduce traffic in the civic area of Wakefield and support cycling and walking initiatives, as part of our commitment to make the air cleaner and to reduce carbon emissions.

"Investment in sustainable transport brings a whole range of benefits such as improved access to communities, which supports jobs and employment; and helping to contribute towards the Council's commitment to tackle climate change."

Cllr Kim Groves, Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Transport Committee, said: "We are delighted with the government's announcement in the budget to support our region's Transforming Cities Fund bid, which means we will be able to deliver a transformational programme of new infrastructure, and help create a step change in travel across the region.

"The £317 million announced in the budget, one of the biggest allocations nationally, means we will be able to begin delivery of our ambitious programme, which will dramatically improve access to public transport, cycling and walking across the region.

"The schemes that will be delivered by the programme will complement the significant investment we are already making through the West Yorkshire-plus Transport Fund and the Connecting Leeds programme, as well as our emerging plans for mass transit and wider connectivity across West Yorkshire.

"We have worked with partners across the region to develop the Transforming Cities Fund programme, to ensure the measures it contains will have a significant beneficial impact across communities in the region.

"Through the Transforming Cities Fund programme, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and partners across the region aim to boost public transport, build high quality infrastructure for people to travel by bike or on foot, and help us to start to address the climate crisis."

Details of Wakefield's share of the funding will be announced in due course and all projects will be subject to extensive consultation.